Amendments Enable Broadband Service

An update to the Local Government Act (LGA) will provide regional districts with an additional tool to expand high-speed Internet to under-served areas. The changes enable regional districts to provide financing for capital costs to Internet service providers where it may not otherwise make sense from a business perspective.

Regional Districts have been historically challenged to deliver broadband services within their jurisdictions, where legislation limited the options available to them. Specifically, the prohibition on assistance to business within the LGA excluded regional districts from providing financial assistance to Internet service providers. The LGA does contain specific exceptions for services that are considered essential, such as telephone, natural gas or electricity. The changes to the LGA reflect that high-speed Internet is now considered an essential service.

These legislative amendments respond to UBCM resolutions on this issue, including a 2017 resolution (B37) from the Regional District of East Kootenay.

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